Chicken soup for the soul, in all it’s various iterations were an essential 90’s read, absolutely brimming with the overly emotional and let’s be honest, unhelpful advice like ‘Think Positive’, ‘Be yourself’ and other sayings crafted as inspiration.
But in the 90’s, I was a teen and these trite sayings are what passes for deep and meaningful in your teenage years, so I read these books in awe and wonder.
Now that I am older and wiser, I know that the best piece of advice comes from the title. When your soul is weary, chicken soup is all you need. The foodie in me has of course taken that with some creative license and adapted it to include spicy Laksa, fragrant Pho, my love of instant noodles in the form of Maggi Indian noodles (My real guilty pleasure) and Indo mee, and now I shall have to include Ramen into the list.
There’s been a lot of waxing lyrical on the subject of the Ramen and Tonkotsu, the broth from which Tonkotsu the restaurant takes it name, but I already knew I would like it because I like noodle soups and so when Mitzie suggested a museum outing and a noodley lunch, I immediately said yes!
Since we had buggies masquerading as tanks, we booked a table, although I don’t think it would be entirely necessary otherwise and we’d been kindly given a corner spot to spread ourselves out.
They run a lunch menu but since this was our first visit, we stuck to the original and meatier menu. We started off with some Shitake & Bamboo shoot gyoza and some crab korokke. The gyoza were a revelation in taste and juicy flavour but the korokke let us down by not having any distinguishable crab flavour at all, although they were certainly hot and melted in the mouth. I did think also that the Korokke could have used a side dipping sauce, but perhaps that’s just because it only tasted like potato!
For the main event, I went for the classic Tonkotsu. Described as a Rich, sea salt-based pork stock and thin noodles topped with slices of melt-in-the-mouth pork belly, half a seasoned soft-boiled egg, menma, bean sprouts and spring onions, I was salivating at the thought of that umami broth, perhaps even more so after the disappointing Korokke.
Safe to say, it was a thing of beauty. I hadn’t expected it to be so silky smooth and yet not creamy, just rich and milky, if that isn’t too weird a description.
I have never really given noodles a second thought, I’ve always thought of them the cheap carbohydrate in the soup and I admit, pasta making hasn’t ever seemed worth the hassle but that just shows you how much I know as this was definitely of infinitely better quality than the noodles I’ve had before.
In the interest of fairness, I will say that Mitzie wasn’t quite as enamoured as I and I think growing up in Asia, I’m far more familiar with noodle soups like this to know that I do like them. I know that the husband probably wouldn’t much fancy it either, but luckily for him I’ve already noted that they do a Katsu curry which should keep all members of the 30s family happy.